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From The Land of The Rising Sun #5: Soka University

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Long time no see… Right, I’ve been a little…well, the world isn’t busy and it’s definitely not lazy… Its been one thing after another after a hectic semester, then the Japanese Language Proficiency Test that I had been preparing for (and hopefully did quite well); I am finally free to resume my writing life after a pretty long break.

Speaking of Japanese, I was doing a series on the awesome trip I took to Japan, ranking my five most memorable experiences. There was Shibamata and its tranquility,  Osaka and its laid-back kind of vibe, Karaoke and how I gave them a taste of my skills and of course Hiroshima. These were just the one’s I chose as special, not that the other places were ‘thumbs-down’. Like Universal Studios was pretty awesome; I should do the roller coaster again. But what I’m definitely not doing again is the public baths. Hot water messes with my head; among other reasons…

So to crown it all was the experience at SOKA University, particularly when we met up with the Pan African Friendship Society (PAFS). Singing, dancing, chatting…it’s as if the language barrier never even existed. It was one of those moments you wish time would just… freeze; stay put for a while. For once I never felt nervous around strangers. We had just met but it felt like I had known each other from the beginning. At first I didn’t know why but I’ve been thinking about it for a while I think I know the reason.

I believe everyone should choose a path in life and follow it to the end. The path I chose was to try and do everything right and do it fully regardless of the outcome or what is expected. Of course I’ve been opposed and ridiculed for it; others have misused it, others have spat on it; at some point it seemed like a really stupid way of living.

Then I met them. Those Japanese students. Who were exactly the same. I was no longer the fool; I was an individual with a large heart and a wonderful soul. We didn’t talk about ideals. But what we talked about reflected them. For a change it was nice to interact with people without them trying to weigh you on some scale of some sort, or comparing what they have and what you have. When you’re in the midst of people whose hearts go out to others instead of their self-interests, you’ll know. When you’re in the midst of people who want to act more than they want to talk, you’ll know. When you’re in the midst of people who want to make a difference so bad that it actually hurts, you’ll definitely know.

That explanation doesn’t quite cut it, but I think you have a general idea. I should definitely meet them again; Hiromi, Miho, Koji, Ayako, Kaori, Masae, Masami, Hiroyuki….hontou ni, tanoshikatta.

Oh yeah, some of them are in the country; I’m planning on meeting them soon. I’m trying to think of something huge. Hmm…

And that concludes it!

From the Land of the Rising Sun #3: Karaoke

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Right, part 3 and Karaoke could not miss in this list. Usually when I tell people I [can] sing it goes something like this:

“You can sing?”


“Really! Sing us a song!”

“Uh, no… ”

“Why? You’re shy?”

“The mood isn’t right…”

“Thought so.. You can’t sing.”

Yes I can sing. And I sang my lungs out at a Karaoke bar thousands of miles away from home, among friends I had just made the previous day! Did I make a fool of myself? That depends; if fools have fun then I guess I did! Now, if only I had a video…

So even now when I hear a song that was sung that day I get extremely nostalgic… Like Bad Romance, Mess of Me, We are (One Piece!) and a couple of others. Music is really powerful y’now…


From the Land of the Rising Sun #1: Shibamata

The two dudes are my schoolmate and Japanese lecturer

Shibamata was the scene for one of Japan’s famous dramas, “Otoko wa tsurai yo” starring Tora-san. His statue is just next to the train station entrance (Shibamata eki). And I just realised that I don’t have a photo of the statue….There is actually a museum that has stuff on that drama. If you walk past the museum you’ll reach the Edo river; crossing it takes you to Chiba. The boat taking people to and fro has been operational for quite some time; its known as Yagiri no Watashi. I remember sitting by the river bank on our second last day: “…Our last free day in Japan. Im at the river, after I horrendously miscalculated my spending and wasted like 250 yen. But the shopping for guys back home is done. I’m going to miss this tranquil, organised, happy, kind and entertaining country; Nihon…” 

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Then I just sat, taking in the view, the moment… I must definitely go back there. Once is not enough.

From the Land of the Rising Sun #0: Introduction


Sea of Clouds above Japan

Yoshi! Kimeta! (Ok! I’ve decided!)

I’m an IT student but I’m doing Japanese as a minor. And as is the case for other language students in our university, we were offered a chance to go to the country where they speak the language we are learning. So this April I had a chance to visit the wonderful country of Japan. That is one AWESOME country; friendly people, legendary service…and the food? Yes, that must have been heaven.

Anyway, it was one of the best holidays I’ve had….no, the best holiday of my life; I had super-awesome experiences and learnt a lot being in a place that’s totally different from home. I’ve decided to put up the top 5 experiences I had and hope that you can learn a thing or two from them. Some of the posts we’ll be in Japanese (with translation provided)… Look out for the five parts!

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